• POPULATION None permanent
• SIZE 1 square mile
For anyone who’s watched the 1973 classic The Wicker Man. a holiday in Scotland’s Summer Isles suggests pagan rituals and grisly human sacrifice. Luckily the producers only borrowed the name of this archipelago for their film, and the real-life Summer Isles (pictured, in the middle distance) are a less risky proposition (there are almost no humans here to sacrifice anyway).
An archipelago of islets scattered off the top left hand corner of the Highlands, this is about as remote a plot as you can find in the UK – a refuge for early Christian monks, for criminals evading the long arm of the law, and now for visitors who can lodge in crofters’ cottages on the lone inhabitable island of Tanera Mor. Castaways can spend their days wandering the heathery moors and seaweed-strewn beaches until the appointed time when the little ferry shuttles them back to the mainland across the chilly fathoms of Loch Broom.
• GETTING THERE – See summer-isles.com for details of ferries and cruises to the islands (from US$13). The nearest town is Ullapool, a V/2-hour drive from Inverness, which has flight connections from London.